I’m on the plane! Or at least, I am at the time of writing. Earlier this morning I was in a car; for much of the rest of the day I shall be on a train.

This particular adventure started at 3.30 am when the alarm went off.  At the time the World Service was playing Music and Movement for 3 to 6 year-olds, presumably 3 to 6 year-olds in the Antipodes. It turned out to be no bad thing, since I would far rather be woken by a nice lady exhorting me to hop like a squirrel than by John Humphries shouting about the Crimea.

At 3.30 in the morning one feels slightly skinned, especially since I’d only been in bed about three and a half hours.  I got home at 8.30 with every intention of going to bed early, to find a note from the cleaner advising me that one of the cats had “messed” behind the curtains, but that she had managed to clean it up and to wash the pooh out of the hoover. Whilst feeling guilty that one’s cleaner has had to wash cat shit out of the hoover is definitely a first world problem, I had my own share of grief when I discovered that the guilty party had managed to crap in such a way that there was dried faeces crusted all along the bottom of the curtain.  I spoke sternly to the cats and Missy replied “Mew mew”, a tale which Katherine duly corroborated.  They were kind enough to support me by watching with interest as I spent an hour scraping and washing the crud off the curtain. 

This morning en route to the airport Sue Rentoul let slip that she does not like cats, possibly in response to this very tale.  I was somewhat shocked, as I had always thought she was such a nice woman, although she did later retract somewhat by saying that she does like them, but can’t see the point of them. As a comment to a cat-lover, this lines up alongside those statements that people make to the effect that cats are evil, as though we cat-lovers had not worked this out for ourselves. The fact that they are evil, feral, greedy, lustful and entirely selfish is absolutely the point of them. In everyday life I cannot, to take a few random examples, sleep all day, elbow others out of the way if I fancy their food, tell people who love me to bugger off because I’m not in the mood for them right now, bother people to play with me because I’m bored, take deep and appreciative sniffs of my sister’s bottom or sit and watch other people while they scrape my crap off the curtains.  Cats are the acceptable expression of the human id.   

I will shortly have a new boss whom I do not know as he is joining from another company, and as you might expect, I am experiencing some slight trepidation at the prospect.  If we were cats, I would be allowed to swear at him, widdle on his laptop and then go and sulk under my desk, and he would be allowed to sit in his office for the first week muttering and spitting at anyone who tried to come in. As it is, we shall have to be polite. I can’t help thinking the cats’ way is better. 

Later, on a train. I can report that Finland is brown and snowy and full of trees.  It is refreshingly brisk, except when the wind blows, when it becomes refreshingly freezing. We are in a carriage of our own on the top deck (a double-decker train! How exciting!) save for two totally innocent Finns, who had picked what they thought was a quiet spot and gone to the buffet car. Their faces when they returned to find they were sharing with forty South London Swimmers were eloquent, to say the least.  We have a seven hour journey before us, travelling north……